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We came across 2 little hedgehogs in our yard. We do not know their age.They were little, but had quills developed on their body and seemed to be brothers; one of them was a little smaller and his quills were barely stinging. We took them inside, hoping that meanwhile we’ll find their mother. They seemed healthy, walking around and eating. But the general state of the little one started to deteriorate rapidly: he would barely eat (we gave them canned cat food and mulberries) and refused to drink water. After 2 days we managed to find their mother and put them together. The bigger one showed no interest in his mom, but the little one rushed towards her, desperate to get beneath her to suckle. But she wouldn't let him; she kept on pushing him aside and even stepped on him. Afraid that she might hurt him, we separated them. But the little one ate lesser and lesser, struggling to chew the food (he would fall asleep while eating, although the day we found him he had a great appetite eating mulberries) and sleeping most of the time. All this time, the bigger one was active and eating ok. After the first night, as the temperature was low outside (min 52, max 77), we kept them inside (we didn’t have a heater, but wrapped them in towels to warm up). One morning, 5 days after we found them, as they felt cold, we put them for a few minutes in the sunlight to warm up (temperature outside being 68). The little one took a bite of cat food, being still sleepy. We took him inside, he woke up, took a short walk around the room and went to sleep again. And he never woke-up. We tried to wake him up the next day, he was breathing, but didn’t react, and then he started to breath with difficulty, gasping for air; and after a few moments he passed away.
The next day, as the weather got warmer, we took the bigger hedgie outside in the garden, in a fenced area: he was full of energy, explored the area, eat mulberries and even some insects he found. He seemed a perfectly healthy hedgehog. In the night we took him inside again, as it was chilly. The next day he could barely move, couldn’t stand on his four legs, but crawled pushing his body with his hind legs; then started to gasp for air, making some faint noises, like a cough. It lasted 30 minutes, and then he too passed away.
NB The weather in this area is quite chilly most of the time; this month, before we found them, the temperature went down to 48 degrees in the night, so we assume they are a breed more adapted than others to low temperatures.
Could anyone please help us understand what happened, what might be the cause of their death? We do not have a vet specialized in hedgehogs and necropsy is not possible. Thank you.
 

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I'm guessing these were wild hedgehogs? It really could have been anything. Perhaps the mother rejected them for some reason and they were left to fend for themselves. Or maybe something they ate had pesticides on it. Perhaps even something like lungworm. Wild hedgies are exposed to much more than our domesticated pets and it's impossible to say what happened without a necropsy.

The important thing is that there are kind people like you who care enough to help. :) Thank you for giving these little ones a safe warm place to spend their last moments.
 

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Like Abbys said, it can be really hard to tell. Personally I'd place my bet on hibernation issues due to the cold temperature. Young hedgehogs don't have the weight and fat to withstand cold temperatures, which is what mom's for. She could have rejected them, or she could have been nearby, then just been showing typical weaning behavior when you tried to reintroduce them.

Sometimes it's best to leave nature be, but you did try to help, which is great! Sometimes it can just be hard to know what exactly to do to help. If a situation like this happens again, the best thing to do would be call a wildlife rescue in your area. They'll have the experience and knowledge to figure out the best action to take once you explain the situation to them. Perhaps the babies should have just been left alone. Perhaps they needed to go to a wildlife rescue to be hand-raised. It's very hard to tell, but you did your best, and it was a learning experience. I'm sorry that you did lose them. Some wildlife can be very difficult to care for, especially without knowing if there were any underlying problems. If you do have a concern about a hedgehog or another wild animal in the future, definitely give a rescue a call and see what you can do to help. :) I work at a wildlife rehab here and we wouldn't be able to do much if we didn't have concerned people who call us when they're not sure if a situation is okay or not, and are willing to bring us animals that need help!

Edit: If you don't have any wildlife rescues in your country that can help if you have future issues with wild hedgehogs (or other wildlife), try contacting this one in the UK - http://www.sttiggywinkles.org.uk/ I've seen them recommended before as a contact for help with injured/orphaned wild hedgehogs. Even if they can't take the animals due to distance, if there's no rescue or vet available that could take the animal, they should be able to give you better instructions on how to care properly for the animal until it can be released again. :) But if at all possible, it's always best for the animal to go to an actual rescue or rehab for necessary care.
 
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